A powerful windstorm sweept through southern Ontario on Wednesday knocked out power to tens of thousands of people and disrupting travel in the air and on the roads.
Environment Canada issued a wind warning for the region, saying residents should brace for hazardous road conditions. The warning was lifted at around 8 p.m. Wednesday.
Provincial power utility Hydro One said more than 80,000 of its customers were without power Wednesday afternoon, but that number was down to about 60,000 Wednesday evening. Toronto Hydro said Wednesday night that crews were making progress and about 8,000 customers were without power, after a peak of about 21,000 earlier in the day.
West of the city, Alectra Utilities said about 15,000 customers were without power in Hamilton and Mississauga, Ont. There were also numerous reports of downed power lines.
Toronto Hydro spokeswoman Tori Gass said the blackouts scattered throughout the city were directly related to the wind, which had been gusting upwards of 90 kilometres per hour. She said extra crews had been on standby and were working to fix the downed lines and repair the outages.
In a statement online, Hydro One said the community of Minden in central Ontario was hit hard by the storm, with more than 12,000 outages reported Wednesday afternoon.
A Toronto man is lucky to be alive after a tree crashed into his work truck while he was inside it retrieving some tools on Aldwych Avenue near Pape and Danforth.
His daughter spoke to CityNews about the close call. “If he was in the back of the car I don’t even want to imagine what would have happened,” she said. “He was in shock … the first thing he told me was ‘Wow, I survived. It’s a miracle.’ ” (Watch clip below)
Meanwhile, provincial police said up to 50 vehicles were involved in a major collision on a busy highway north of Toronto.
OPP Sgt. Kerry Schmidt said Wednesday on Twitter that there were no serious injuries in the crash on Highway 400 near Barrie, Ont., which he said “appears weather-related.”
In eastern Ontario, a pedestrian was hit by a tree knocked down by the wind. Const. Adam Donaldson with Belleville, Ont. police said the person was taken to hospital with minor injuries.
“It’s wind anarchy in our city right now, there are trees falling down everywhere,” Donaldson said.
#Breaking #News? Maybe not but you'd be best to avoid the area of King and Dundurn #HamOnt. @HamiltonPolice doing a great job working away to move vehicles through the intersection. pic.twitter.com/z860wGSTx3
— Steve Welton (@StephenWelton) April 4, 2018
West of Toronto, the fierce winds caused a crane to partially collapse in Mississauga, Ont. Const. Bally Saini, a spokeswoman with Peel Regional Police, said no injuries were reported, but officers were on scene Wednesday to ensure no one would be hurt as crews worked to stabilize the crane.
Police said a big board with nails fell on a vehicle near Yonge and Grenville streets, north of College. Traffic lights were hanging by its wires near Markham and Ellesmere roads. And a large metal container fell from a building in the Yonge and Eglinton area.
A large pane of glass fell from a building in Liberty Village onto the sidewalk below.
No injuries have been reported.
The windstorm also caused problems in the air, with national transportation agency NAV Canada slowing the rate of landings at Toronto’s Pearson International Airport.
“There are a few delays on account of the weather but planes are still arriving and departing,” said Natalie Moncur, a spokeswoman for the Greater Toronto Airports Authority.
Toronto’s downtown Billy Bishop airport tweeted that “crews are working hard to keep flights moving, but wind and weather may pose greater challenges into the evening.”